A real sense of place makes this recommended read almost as much fun as the Vineyard in July.


In this engrossing mashup of chick lit, mystery and romance, Hurley (The Prodigal, 2013, etc.) conjures up experiences that provoke three beautiful young women marred by failure and disappointment to question traditional values (church and family).

Once on Martha’s Vineyard, mystical, life-altering events (as well as sexual encounters) come to the three friends in rapid succession. Sweet, 32-year-old, suicidal Charlotte Harris arrives via ferry, and she carries an urn with her daughter’s ashes. She’s ostensibly there to indulge in a reunion with her old college pals, the glamorous sexpot Turner Graham and the single, athletic and free-spirited Dory Delano (who welcomes both as guests in her elegant Edgartown home). Dory immediately asks Charlotte (who is ready to slip off and kill herself) to find Enoch, a soft-spoken man known as “the fisherman.” When she accidentally hands him her suicide note instead of Dory’s shopping list, he reads it. His advice? Swim off Gay Head where currents are strongest. While readers may suspect Charlotte’s efforts to drown herself will fail, her implausible, nearly miraculous rescue, not to mention Dory’s own subsequent experience with the miraculous, and Enoch’s unselfish, peaceful behavior create a riptide of curiosity. While not philosophically deep, the novel is addictive, escapist reading that features stock figures such as Dory’s beau, Trafalgar “Tripp” Wallace the Third, who squanders his family’s old money, and Father Tommy Vecchio, who gives priests a bad name. Some facile generalizations about Roman Catholicism weaken the story, but clever biblical parallels and metaphors that run underneath the surface add intrigue. The skippable final chapters offer a secular explanation of Enoch, which seems unnecessary to all but the most literal-minded readers. Readers may want to stop reading after the deliriously satisfying conclusion and just enjoy a peek into the lives of the filthy rich.

A real sense of place makes this recommended read almost as much fun as the Vineyard in July.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0976127574

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ragbagger Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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